I feel like I should be up front about this: I received a copy of HOT RABBI as a gift from the author, Aviva Blakeman. She is a dear friend and knew that I would need something to occupy my time while Hurricane Delta passed overhead – and boy was she right about that. The wind, oh my God, the wind. FOR HOURS. I hate that sound. I’m getting off track a little; I just meant to reassure you that the fact this was a gift will in no way affect my review and/or commentary.
As I sat down to write this review, I realized that it is going to be less of a review and more of a commentary on the importance of inclusion. This was probably spurred on by my having read a couple of interesting pieces recently, one about how the default for western culture is Christianity – even for atheists – and the other an op-ed by non-binary person on why they no longer feel safe in the romance community. (You can read that here. It is far more important reading than this review.)
Hot Rabbi is a must read, but not for the reasons you might expect. Well, strike that. Some of the reasons you might expect. I mean, the sex is scorching hot and multi-chaptered. The chemistry between the two leads is fantastic. (I was reminded strongly of Fleabag and the Hot Priest.) More importantly, though, is that it is told in a distinctly Jewish voice. There aren’t any explanations about terminology. The author doesn’t make that default into Christianity. She assumed you already know or are capable of googling if you have a question. That is such a refreshing change, and I quite enjoyed not having to have every little thing explained. I realized I didn’t know as much about the Jewish faith as I’d supposed, so it made for some interesting side reading.
The other important thing you need to know is that the female protagonist is bisexual. I appreciated the acknowledgement that bisexuality is a real thing, and that you can be attracted to both sexes but settle into a loving relationship with one partner. So often people want to make it an either/or proposition like they want to do with gender. Like gender, sexuality is much more fluid than that.
In short, I highly recommend this funny, sexy, enjoyable novel. It touches on important issues without being obvious about it. I hope it provokes as much thought in others as it did in me.